Monday, June 24, 2013

Why did Snowden take the job at Booz Allen? (important update)

For a while now some of us have noticed that Edward Snowden took his job at Booz Allen after he contacted Glenn Greenwald to discuss leaking information about the NSA. Greenwald has always dismissed questions about this because he says Snowden worked on contract with the NSA in previous positions. That was never the point. The question has always been, why would he decide to leak and THEN take the job at Booz Allen?

Today, the South China Morning Post (the Hong Kong paper Snowden has been talking to for awhile now) answered that question. If true (and we have no reason to doubt these folks based on their previous reporting), this is HUGE!
Edward Snowden secured a job with a US government contractor for one reason alone – to obtain evidence on Washington’s cyberspying networks, the South China Morning Post can reveal.

For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programmes ahead of planned leaks to the media.

“My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told the Post on June 12. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”
First of all, this not only cooks Snowden's goose pretty completely. But we now have every reason to question Glenn Greenwald's role in all this. Did he know about or in any way influence Snowden's decision to take the job specifically for the purpose of leaking? If so, he's implicated in a criminal conspiracy. I'm not one that thinks these kinds of questions should necessarily require a court of law to be answered. Greenwald wants to claim the mantle of "journalist." Its time he came clean.

UPDATE: Apparently Glenn Greenwald spoke to Greg Sargent to address these questions today. I'll let you read it for yourself and will stipulate that his explanation matches up with timelines he has written about in the past.

But I still have a few questions. First and foremost is that he is never quoted as making a categorical denial of knowing about Snowden's decision to take a job specifically for the purpose of gaining access to the documents they leaked. I've been watching Greenwald for too long not to be aware of how he twists words to avoid unpleasant facts.

Secondly, I'm curious why Greenwald went to Sargent instead of either writing this himself or being interviewed by someone at the Guardian - where he works. Don't get me wrong - I'm a fan of Sargent's work. But this is a big story. You have to wonder why Greenwald would give it away.

Finally, I can't help but wonder how Greenwald would approach this if the shoe were on the other foot.
“I approach my journalism as a litigator,” he said. “People say things, you assume they are lying, and dig for documents to prove it.”
And yet questioning him is reckless innuendo.
“Anybody who wants to accuse me or anyone at the Guardian of aiding and abetting Snowden has the obligation to point to any specific evidence to support that accusation,” Greenwald told me. “Otherwise they’re just spouting reckless innuendo.”
Why not just demonstrate some transparency and publish the communication he had with Snowden? You KNOW that's what he would be demanding if the roles were reversed.


  1. Explains why this cat ran - if he purposely took a national security job to basically turn double agent, the best he can hope for is comfy cell in Leavenworth for the next 20 years, because he was literally guilty of treason.

  2. this is straight up, no holds barred, no confusion about it..


    against the United States of America.

    and for all of those who have been holding this traitor up as some kind of hero..

    apologies begin to the left.

  3. Could this be at the heart of Greenwald and Snowden's attempts to obscure and embarrass the U.S. government?

  4. From everything we can see, Snowden did not act alone when it comes to this leak. The leak, the fast fleeing out of the United States, and then getting the process of seeking asylum kicked into gear in the same country that granted asylum to Greenwald's pal Assange.

    I will also take note that Greenwald is saying that anyone saying he or Guardian had anything to do with Snowden's actions needs to present evidence of it, but he isn't outright denying that he did it. Hmm.

    1. Now, that's some high-quality Greenwaldian logic right there. Fist-bump!

    2. Spandan C

      That's why I noted GG's non-denial denial:

      First and foremost is that he is never quoted as making a categorical denial of knowing about Snowden's decision to take a job specifically for the purpose of gaining access to the documents they leaked.

    3. The New York Times is reporting Snowden had been to Hong Kong on a previous vacation.

    4. Must be nice to gallivant around the globe just 4 weeks into your job. Most places, the new employee is on a 3 to 6 month probationary period where your pay will get docked if you take a sick day.

  5. How did he get this job in the first place, with so few qualifications?

  6. Mlf is right, the issue is, HOW did the great super-secret US security apparatus with it's gold platted contractors FAIL so massively?

    Who hired this guy, why did the NSA let this info float around in the commercial world. ANYONE who spends any oxygen wanking about snowden and greenwad are missing the point completely. The point is the government agencies have failed in a massive way.

    OR they are playing us, and ES and GG are paid to do this little show.

  7. “I approach my journalism as a litigator.”

    GG, this is a recipe for disaster. This mentality is why you are in the hot water you are in now.

    A journalist's job first and foremost is to report the facts. That's it!

    A litigator's job is to argue a point-of-view (with or without facts).

    And you're a bigger idiot than I originally though you were because you can't tell the difference.

  8. If this were true, then the NSA is totally useless and inept. A terrorist could easily have infiltrated the same agency. So lets stop funding this ridiculous, stupid agency.

  9. What about the Voting Rights Act? Do progressives give a damn that black people are being disenfranchised, AGAIN? All I've heard from these blogs are *Crickets*.

    1. Nice try at deflection. Try Lawyers, Guns & Money; Kevin Drum; Balloon Juice; Benen; Kilgore; Steve M ... and those are just ones I check routinely. They're all on it. This thread, however, which was posted yesterday, is not. Funny, that.


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